Event 5: 2020 NHRA Indianapolis Nationals
August 8-9, 2020
Heading into the fifth race of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season Shawn Langdon and his DHL/Kalitta Air Top Fuel team can feel some momentum building. For the third consecutive race the team will be racing in Indianapolis and the familiarity of the facility does give Langdon some motivation as well as stability. The NHRA Nationals will kick off with one day of qualifying on Saturday followed by eliminations on Sunday format which will air live on FOX.
“I know NHRA is doing everything they can to keep the season going,” said Langdon. “We should be in Denver this weekend and we are hoping to get there later this season. Everyone is working to keep the fans and teams safe so we just race when and where they tell us to race. It is great to be back at in the track in Indy and it sort of feels like we are racing for the track championship coming back for the third week but there is a Top Fuel championship on the line instead.”
The 2013 NHRA Top Fuel world champion is currently No. 7 in the Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings. The battle in the middle of the standings is tight with only 54 points (less than three rounds of racing) separating Langdon from the No. 3 spot. His teammate Doug Kalitta continues to have a commanding lead but Langdon knows he wants to get up closer to the Mac Tools dragster.
“Doug has been on a tear this season,” said Langdon. “We are both running great dragsters and you have to look at the support we all get from Mobil1, Toyota Racing Development and NGK Spark Plugs on the performance side. Kalitta Motorsports has done a great job of getting all three teams on the same page and really working well together. I have enjoyed the move back to dragster and I think our performance is going to start stepping up this weekend.”
The team will be continuing to highlight a number of sponsors for added exposure heading into their third race on FOX. Look for enhanced branding for long-time sponsor SealMaster on the front side of the DHL dragster. Additionally, there will be TRD branding below Toyota logo on cockpit side with Revchem Composites branding on side window. The rear wing will be adorned with Toyota and Mobil1 branding.
The prior two seasons saw Langdon wheeling a Nitro Funny Car, racing to two victories in 2019 and a Top Ten finish. His career has been defined by the dragster whether it was in the early days coming up through the junior dragster ranks to sportsman classes or his first years in Top Fuel. The second generation racer has always enjoyed the acceleration and power that comes from hitting the throttle on an 11,000 horsepower Top Fuel dragster.
“A lot of people ask about the switch to Funny Car and now back to Top Fuel,” said Langdon. “The biggest change going to Funny Car was the handling of the race car going down the track. That took some time to get used to and get that under control. Coming back to Top Fuel I have had to get used to the immediate acceleration. There is nothing like the launch of a Top Fuel dragster. I am back to being very comfortable and I think you’ll see the results of the rest of the season.”
The race coming up in Indianapolis could also be Langdon’s last chance to get some laps on the track that will host the biggest drag race in the country the U.S. Nationals Labor Day weekend. After this weekend there is a short break and the month wraps up with the NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Georgia, August 29-30. Getting a second U.S. Nationals win if definitely on Langdon’s to-do list this season.
“This track in Indy is special. These races we are running now don’t compare to the U.S. Nationals. That race has its own vibe. No matter what is going on, winning the U.S. Nationals is a big deal. No one know how this season will play out so we want to get as many round wins as possible and win as many races as possible. We want have some success this weekend and move on from there,” added Langdon.
Last Event Recap (2020 NHRA Indy2 Nationals): Qual. No. 3; Lost to Justin Ashley
Quotable: Shawn Langdon on getting back to action: “I am ready to get back to the track. It is cool that I don’t have to go to an airport but the travel is also something that helps get you into a race mindset. Once you get to the track you focus on the task at hand no matter where you are racing. It will be good to see my DHL guys and get back behind the wheel.”
Career Stats: 260 events, 257 starts, 289 round wins, 16 wins, 33 finals, 18 No. 1 qualifiers; in Top Fuel 212 events, 209 starts, 14 wins, 30 finals, 250 round wins, 18 No. 1 qualifiers
Winternationals: Qual. No. 4; Lost to Justin Ashley
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 7; Beat Clay Millican; Lost to Steve Torrence
Indy1 NHRA Nationals: Qual. No. 8; Beat Justin Ashley; Lost to Steve Torrence
Indy2 NHRA Nationals: Qual. No. 3; Lost to Justin Ashley